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American Masters: Ray Charles

This Day in Music History: Ray Charles is Attacked on Stage

written by: on February 28, 2012

On February 28, 1977 Ray Charles was attacked on stage. Ray Charles was performing at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles for a benefit concert for the community program Project Heavy when an audience member leapt onto the stage with a rope and attempted to strangle him.

Ray Charles fought the aggressor off until security aided him. Curiously, no complaint was ever filed and the authorities were not alerted. The attacker was a member of Project Heavy. The group decided they would handle the situation privately and his identity was not announced.

Reports later speculated that the attacker was simply a fan overcome with emotions. However, witnesses claimed the man yelled out “Ray Charles will see and the Lord will come tonight,” while trying to strangle the music legend.Luckily, Charles did make it out scratch free and continued to perform later in the evening.